From The Rolling Stones to Elton John – longevity is the name of the game

This week we have been handed a number of reminders of the long-term impact music can have, writes Chris Stevenson

Thursday 14 October 2021 00:28
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<p>Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood of The Rolling Stones at Hollywood Burbank airport for their No Filter tour</p>

Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood of The Rolling Stones at Hollywood Burbank airport for their No Filter tour

A number of music-related stories have piqued my interest recently – from Elton John claiming a UK Top 10 single in a sixth different decade, to the Rolling Stones dropping “Brown Sugar” from the setlist of their US tour, and then Paul McCartney calling Mick Jagger and co a “blues cover band”. This all highlighted to me the longevity of all of the acts involved and the impact that music can have over decades.

Criticism of the lyrics in “Brown Sugar”, including the depiction of Black women and references to slavery, sex, and heroin has been building in recent years – although Keith Richards told the LA Times that he couldn’t wrap his head around why people wanted to “bury” the song, saying: “Didn’t they understand this was a song about the horrors of slavery? ... But they’re trying to bury it. At the moment I don’t want to get into conflicts with all of this.”

The Rolling Stones may have something to say about Paul McCartney’s comments about the band to The New Yorker, with the former Beatle saying that in terms of influences “I think our net was cast a bit wider than theirs.” McCartney added: “I’m not sure I should say it, but they’re a blues cover band, that’s sort of what the Stones are.” It will likely be water under the bridge for Jagger and his bandmates, but it does go to show that we are never far away from comparisons between different acts – it doesn’t matter who you are!

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